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Discussion Starter #1
After a week of tuning and researching and tuning some more my new system in a small SUV sounds worse than the factory setup.

Alpine CDA 117 source
Pioneer GM D 9500 4-channel, bridged to sub
Alpine SPR-60C 6.5 components.
Pioneer shallow sub.

The sub sounds great. The components have a slight but noticeable harshness / distortion / garbled sound with certain music and mid-high frequencies. some music sounds great, some sounds so bad, like knives to the ear drums.

I have spent a week tuning- the tweeters crossover is maxed out at the lowest setting- -6db.

Some say the tweeters need to break in. I have a hard time with that.

Could it just be that these speakers in my car's environment just have a harsh slightly distorted sound?

If so, I'm ready to go for another brand, e.g Boston Acoustics.

Thanks in advamce:mad:
 

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How did you set the gains on the amp?
 

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Cut down around 5khz on your eq.

Post pics of the tweeter install.

What source are your recordings that our listening too? Cd, mp3?
 

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Cut down around 5khz on your eq.

Post pics of the tweeter install.

What source are your recordings that our listening too? Cd, mp3?
CDA 117 doesn't have a 5khz freq. either in GeQ or in PeQ

He might have to cut 6.3khz and 4khz if its the problem with eqing anywhere there.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the suggestions-
summary of feed-back:

Gains on amp were set based on pre-amp voltage- set each channel to ~ 4volts input per the CDA 117 output spec.

The tweeters are parallel to the door panel up high near the dash and cross fire across the dash. They are right behind the factory tweeter covers for a 2011 RAV4 sport.


I am running minimal EG- flat plus or minus 2 db on a few bands.

I tried cutting down the top 4 of 7 bands by 4db or so and it helped but-
the harshness still bled through in the dead zones of the EQ and it sounded like garbage.

Source material is from purchased CDs.

I know the distortion is not coming from the head unit- the rear speakers (coax) do not have it, so it's either the amp or the front tweeters. I guess I'll have to swap speakers and determine the source of the distortion.
 

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I may be entirely wrong, but I had a CDA-117 for a few days before I returned it. If you aren't used to Alpines (I have owned Excelon's and Premiers my entire life) I found them to be very "digital" sounding, and harsh.

It was inherent no matter what I did to the EQ, it may just be that simple.
 

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Thanks for the suggestions-
summary of feed-back:

Gains on amp were set based on pre-amp voltage- set each channel to ~ 4volts input per the CDA 117 output spec.

The tweeters are parallel to the door panel up high near the dash and cross fire across the dash. They are right behind the factory tweeter covers for a 2011 RAV4 sport.


I am running minimal EG- flat plus or minus 2 db on a few bands.

I tried cutting down the top 4 of 7 bands by 4db or so and it helped but-
the harshness still bled through in the dead zones of the EQ and it sounded like garbage.

Source material is from purchased CDs.

I know the distortion is not coming from the head unit- the rear speakers (coax) do not have it, so it's either the amp or the front tweeters. I guess I'll have to swap speakers and determine the source of the distortion.
If you are using Graphic EQ cut the 5th and 6th band. Don't cut the first 4 bands. Cut the 5th and 6th and if harshness is still there cut the 4th and 3rd.
 

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Its the alpine tweets i gave them about two weeks and they never did open up. So i ordered some vifa alum dome got the pair for about 60 buck i believe. Run them off axis and it'll be a night and day difference. If those are the old alpine the woofers are great though.
Dont know about the newer ones.
 

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Alpine tweets, GET RID OF THEM! DEAD SEROUS!

Alpine Type R: LOVED THEM, but the tweeter was so god awful had to sell the set.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Its the alpine tweets i gave them about two weeks and they never did open up. So i ordered some vifa alum dome got the pair for about 60 buck i believe. Run them off axis and it'll be a night and day difference. If those are the old alpine the woofers are great though.
Dont know about the newer ones.
This sounds like a great idea!

Can you reply with what model no. you ordered? Also, did they come with crossovers or did you use the alpine crossover / other? Thanks!
 

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so the amp only goes to the sub and mid/tweets are being powered by the headunit ?
 

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sent you a pm so check your inbox. If you are just running these off the hu you deff need to get a decent 2 or 4 channel amp.
 

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I think that was my point, if you are running componenets off of headunit power they probably WILL sound bad at any volume above "chamber music" level. Nothing short of more power is going to fix that problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
so the amp only goes to the sub and mid/tweets are being powered by the headunit ?
No. The front components are being supplied 100W each by the 4-channel amp. The sub is driven by 200W bridged amp.
The rear door Alpine SPR 60 coaxial speakers are driven by head unit but are faded for fill and HPF set to 80 HZ. They actually sound "fair" with no distortion or harshness.

The front channel gain was set too high initially which contributed to the component tweeter harshness.

They have settled down a little- to the "listenable" level although they can still sound harsh / just plain obnoxiously bad depending on source. Crossovers are set to -4db.

I am going to order the vifa tweeters after reading lots of info about them- this is the best site for car audio info!
 

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I have your same vehicle and had my speakers positioned in the same spots. What I noticed in this vehicle is that the tweeters sounded much better on the a-pillar than from the factory spot. I also had (and still working a year into it) to do some serious eq on everything to make it sound right and centered. First and foremost, do you have your doors deadened and sealed? There are two rather large holes in both doors that will kill any sq you might be looking for. Even after doing all that (going to be foaming and mlving both in about a week) I still had to drop a bunch from ~200-400 Hz and from ~1kHz-~3 kHz. For me, I always thought it was the tweeters being harsh but it was that 1kHz-3kHz trouble spot that was causing the 'my ears are going to explode!' feeling. I have Hertz Mille drivers all around too which pretty much everyone says is a very natural (if not laid back) speaker set. I was dropping up to 7 Db in alot of those areas through a Bit One too. If I were you I would find a way to listen to only the woofers and then only the tweeters to see where your problem is truly coming from.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the info james. the doors are sealed and deadened with foam and dynamat.
The harshness (as thomasluke and others mentioned) was definitely coming from the tweeters of the alpine spr-60c set. ALthough they did start settling down after about 3-weeks of use, their sound quality was still not to my preference and sounded just harsh and overbearing with certain music / songs, especially music with lots of intentional distortion- if anyone has ever listened to the Flaming Lips, their music is loaded with lots of intentional distortion as part of their sound. The apline tweeters made this music flat out non-listenable to where i wanted to trash the CD.
however, they did have some positive qualities- namely a strong presence and clarity for vocals and high frequency percussion. Vocal clarity was quite impressive and some may prefer it.
However, I did my final tuning yesterday (Saturday) by replacing the tweeters with the Vifa NE19 VTA-04 aluminum dome silk surround 3/4 in. drivers.
Immediately the smoothness and quality of sound was quite obvious. After playing all my reference music I am absolutely satisfied with these tweeters and they made the entire system install a success. They do not have the vocal clarity of the alpine tweeters but that is easily adjusted in the EQ. They reproduce the music with clarity and accuracy, not calling attention to themselves. the music sounds great again, even music with intentional distortion like flaming lips and f****d up (the band). No harshness whatsoever and they do have a nice high frequency range. Thanks to thomasluke for recommending the vifa tweeters!
I even made the rear alpine typr r coaxials more listenable for rear fill by adding a 200uf capacitor inline to eliminate the over-booming bass. The cap cuts bass from200hz @ 6db / octave. I also aimed the coaxial swivel tweeters to face directly upward in the lower rear doors to aim at the driver's ear as much as possible. I have come accustomed to the spaciousness that a good rear fill speaker set provides. I was not aware that the HU high pass did not affect the rear speakers (driven by the HU).
All in all I am now completely satisfied with the system and have become experienced at amp / system tuning, something I never thought would be so involved, detailed and trial / error time consuming.
 

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Your very welcome avanti. It always a pleasure to help out a fellow diyer.
Thats what this site is all about man. Have you tried fading out the rears?
You might lose a little ambiance but will gain a more centered and focused stage up front.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Your very welcome avanti. It always a pleasure to help out a fellow diyer.
Thats what this site is all about man. Have you tried fading out the rears?
You might lose a little ambiance but will gain a more centered and focused stage up front.
yes, i had faded out the rear speakers almost completely until i put the capacitors in. I brought them back in just enough to create a little fill / spaciousness without affecting the stage.


Now it's time to start experimenting with Time Correction. Will it be a benefit or just a gimmick? "Time" will tell!
 
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